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Citric Acid?

I would really, really appreciate some help. I don't know what to do! Sorry this is so long, I'm more than a little upset.


My skin began burning when I put certain products on it. Really burning, so bad that I'd have to wash and rinse and rinse with cold water to make it stop. So I started reading ingredients. I soon noticed one ingredient in common - Citric Acid. One of the things that made me burn was Vichy Mineral 89 Skin Fortifying Daily Booster. It has 11 ingredients and Citric Acid is the 10th.


I had facial surgery and a day later, my skin had something white flaking off. I asked the surgeon what he had put on my skin. He said nothing, they just washed it with Baby Shampoo. I kept after them until they gave me the ingredients (almost all misspelled), straightened out the ingredients, and found a match in Google. It was Cardinal Health Baby Shampoo, the 14th of 15 ingredients. That was my skin flaking off and two weeks later, it's still flaking (not all over all the time, it moves from one place to another, so I think my neck had stopped but now it's flakey again).


So I consulted Dr Google and here's where it gets strange. Dr Google says you can't be allergic to Citric Acid. it does not provoke an immune response. You can have a citrus allergy but I don't think I do, I eat citrus fruit and drink lots of juice. I don't understand, can I have a Citric Acid sensitivity without having any allergy? If it's not an allergy, I guess an allergy test wouldn't be worthwhile, would it?


Today I went through most of my skin stuff (I'm a skin junkie) and I tested everything containing Citric Acid on my skin, just a small spot. All but one caused immediate burning, the odd one had delayed burning. BTW, it's a burning sensation, my skin doesn't turn red.


What's going on with me and is there anything I can do about it? Do I have to read the complete ingredients list on every product I'm tempted to try? And just pass by those that don't have a complete ingredients list? And what about my products that came with a leaflet that included an ingredients list that I don't have now because I threw it out?


Any ideas, please? I'm lost. Could I be drinking too much citrus juice...or doing something...that I could stop and this would go away?

RE: Citric Acid?

Your skin could be sensitive to acids that's why there's a burning sensation. But citric acid is a form of acid which makes your skin exfoliate to renew skin cells and burning sensation is common unless the burning feeling is too much for you to tolerate. Try to put aloe after using products with citric acid maybe that will help ease the burning sensation. Hopes that helps! 🙂

Re: RE: Citric Acid?

@Conj  Thank you so much for your reply! It is an interesting idea but I do not react to glycolic acid or salicylic acid, or any other that I know of, only citric acid. Salicylic acid is a BHA, glycolic and citric are AHAs. Salicylic, lactic (another AHA), and glycolic are used in peels, citric is not because it is more likely to cause stinging and be sensitizing. (I've been reading Paula Begoun's Ingredients Dictionary.)


The dictionary says citric acid is "used primarily in small amounts to adjust the pH of products to prevent them from being too alkaline". That's why it's usually at the end of the list of ingredients (the small amounts) and that makes it seem very strange to me that I've become sensitized to it. But the first product that I really reacted to has citric acid higher up in the list, 16 of 26. But it's a great product (PTR's pumpkin mask), it has great reviews, and many people mention that it "tingles but doesn't burn"! It does have other acids so maybe exposure to those acids at once did contribute to my sensitivity?


The burning sensation is much too much for me, and I live in constant pain (rheumatoid, psoriatic, and osteoarthritis), with constant pain medication to go with it. This burning is beyond description and I think that it must be causing inflammation, even though it is not making my skin red (yet). And inflammation is the major cause of skin aging; we want to keep our skin in an anti-inflammatory state to slow down aging.


Thanks for giving me something more to think about, if you have any other ideas I'd appreciate hearing them. I really want to understand this!

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